During a recent appearance on The Howard Stern Show, Joe Satriani, a member of the Best Of All World (BoBW) tour alongside Sammy Hagar, showcased his guitar skills by spontaneously playing various Van Halen riffs. While he adeptly handled most challenges, the song “Mean Street,” described by Hagar as “impossible to play,” proved to be a stumbling block.
In a forthcoming interview with Guitar World, Satriani acknowledged, “I royally screwed up, which hurt like a thorn in my side, but I’ll get over it.”
Satriani, known for his high standards, participated in on-the-fly impersonations of Eddie Van Halen, a legendary guitarist, during a live radio session, a feat few would attempt. Reflecting on the experience, Satriani sees it as a valuable learning opportunity, providing him with renewed insight into the tonal challenges faced by Van Halen, particularly dealing with high-gain rigs during later touring years.
He recognized the difficulty Eddie Van Halen likely encountered while delivering his early catalog through heavily gain-laden setups. Satriani drew parallels between his struggles on Howard Stern and Van Halen’s challenges. Balancing gain levels to achieve harmonic peaks without excessive surface noise proved to be a complex task.
In particular, he references the difficulty EVH must have faced delivering his early catalog through the incredibly gain-y rig of his latter touring years.
“He probably struggled with it the most,” says Satriani. “Because I’m sure when he sat down to do the beginning of Mean Street, he experienced what I did on Howard Stern, where it’s like, ‘There’s too much gain!’
“Because you want a peak in the midrange of the gain so you can get those harmonics to sing out as loud. But if you cross the line, you get too much surface noise. But to try and figure all of that out at six in the morning was like… ‘Damn, this is rough.’”
In a broader context, Satriani views tackling these challenges as a privilege and maintains a positive outlook on preparing for the upcoming summer tour. He anticipates mastering the setlist that Hagar throws his way, emphasizing that “It’s all in good fun.”
Source: Guitar World.